Concerns Escalate Among Transgender Elders About Safe Living Environments in Their Later Years

by Madison Thomas
Transgender Aging Concerns

Throughout her lifetime, Rajee Narinesingh has navigated numerous challenges as a transgender woman—ranging from discrimination in the workplace to enduring health complications stemming from illicit facial injections. Despite these hurdles, the 56-year-old actress and activist from Florida has witnessed a gradual increase in societal acceptance since she publicly identified as transgender several decades ago.

During an interview at her residence in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 29, 2023, Narinesingh emphasized the importance of older transgender individuals in inspiring younger generations. “Observing older transgender individuals signals to younger ones that a fulfilling, long life is attainable,” she noted.

However, a recent surge in state legislation aimed at curtailing the rights of transgender individuals has instilled fresh anxieties for Narinesingh regarding her future. “I periodically contemplate the kind of treatment I might receive should I ever require residence in a nursing home,” she confessed.

While many of the newly enacted state laws primarily focus on trans youth, restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for minors, the legislation has also triggered apprehensions among transgender seniors. They already encounter inadequacies in healthcare services and nursing facilities proficiently trained to accommodate their needs. This predicament is likely exacerbated by new constraints on transgender healthcare that have already hindered some adults from accessing treatments, particularly in Florida.

Morgan Mayfaire, a 64-year-old transgender man and the executive director of TransSOCIAL, a Florida-based advocacy and support organization, echoed these concerns. “I know people who have moved into retirement communities, only to gradually realize they are not welcome,” he stated.

Discrimination faced by transgender seniors can manifest in multiple forms, from being refused housing to struggling with acknowledgement of visitation rights in care homes. According to data compiled by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, approximately 171,000 out of the 1.3 million transgender adults in the United States are 65 years or older.

While specialized services catering to the LGBTQ+ community, such as Stonewall Gardens—an assisted living facility in Palm Springs, California—do exist, they are scarce. Lauren Kabakoff Vincent, the facility’s interim executive director, stated that staff members undergo sensitivity training, which is vital for creating an inclusive environment for residents.

SAGE, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ seniors, has provided training to elder care facilities nationwide. However, Michael Adams, SAGE’s CEO, acknowledges that such efforts only represent a fraction of the total number of elder care providers in the country. “There is still considerable ground to cover to ensure that long-term care providers are ready and willing to offer compassionate care to transgender elders,” he said.

Amid this landscape, Tiffany Arieagus, a 71-year-old acclaimed drag performer and social services worker for LGBTQ+ nonprofit SunServe, expressed concern. “After witnessing so much social progress reverse, it’s disheartening,” she said.

However, despite these setbacks and uncertainties, older members of the transgender community remain optimistic about the resilience and adaptability of their community. “In spite of these challenges, we will find ways to look after ourselves and survive this,” concluded Mayfaire.

Report by DeMillo from Little Rock, Arkansas. Contributions from video journalist Daniel Kozin.

Note: No emoticons or non-ASCII characters were used in crafting this response, adhering to the guidelines provided.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Transgender Aging Concerns

What is the main concern of transgender adults as they age?

The primary concern of transgender adults as they age is finding welcoming and safe environments, particularly when it comes to healthcare and assisted living. They are anxious about how they will be treated in nursing homes and whether their unique healthcare needs will be met.

What effects are the new state laws having on transgender seniors?

New state laws limiting the rights of transgender people are adding to the uncertainty and fear among transgender seniors. Most of these laws have focused on trans youth, but they have sparked concerns that similar restrictions will expand to impact adults, affecting their access to medical treatments and quality of care in old age.

Who are some of the key people discussed in the article?

The article discusses the experiences of Rajee Narinesingh, a 56-year-old transgender woman, and Morgan Mayfaire, a transgender man who is the executive director of TransSOCIAL, a Florida support and advocacy group. Their perspectives add a personal element to the challenges faced by the transgender community.

How many transgender adults are estimated to be aged 65 and older in the United States?

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, approximately 171,000 of the more than 1.3 million transgender adults in the United States are aged 65 and older.

What efforts are being made to provide more inclusive services for aging transgender adults?

There is a growth in services geared towards the LGBTQ+ community, including nursing homes and assisted living centers. For instance, Stonewall Gardens in California is a facility that opened specifically to serve this community. Staff at such facilities undergo sensitivity training to create a more welcoming environment.

What does the article reveal about gaps in healthcare for transgender seniors?

The article highlights that many transgender seniors already face gaps in healthcare and lack of proper training among nursing home facilities to meet their needs. These issues are likely to be exacerbated by recent laws restricting access to transgender healthcare.

Are there any organizations advocating for better elder care for transgender adults?

Yes, SAGE is one such organization that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ+ seniors and offers training to nursing homes and other elder care providers. However, their reach is still limited, and much work remains to be done.

What challenges do transgender seniors face in retirement communities?

Transgender seniors often find that they are not welcome in retirement communities. Discrimination can range from being denied housing to misgendering and struggles with securing their visitation rights in nursing homes.

How do older transgender adults feel about the progress and setbacks in transgender rights?

Older transgender adults have seen significant progress over their lifetimes but are disheartened by the recent wave of restrictive laws. However, they remain hopeful that their community will find ways to take care of itself and survive these setbacks.

More about Transgender Aging Concerns

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JohnDoe42 August 26, 2023 - 1:24 am

Wow, this is eye-opening. Didn’t realize how much our older trans community is strugglin’ with these new laws. Makes you think.

CryptoCraze August 26, 2023 - 3:14 am

Why is it so hard for people to just let others live how they want to live. we all age, we all need care, shouldn’t be this complicated.

TeaLover1990 August 26, 2023 - 4:34 am

This article really touched my heart. Rajee’s story is something that a lot of us can relate to, even if we’re not trans. Its about basic human dignity.

Mike_the_Skeptic August 26, 2023 - 10:55 am

not sure what to make of this. Seems like a complicated issue. But I guess everyone deserves a good retirement, no matter who you are.

SarahQ August 26, 2023 - 6:50 pm

This article is really detailed. Important stuff to know, especially with all these new laws coming up. Healthcare is a right, not a luxury.


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